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In Search of Civil SocietyMarket Reform and Social Change in Contemporary China$
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Gordon White, Jude A. Howell, and Shang Xiaoyuan

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198289562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198289562.001.0001

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Civil Society in the Countryside? Social Organizations and Rural Development

Civil Society in the Countryside? Social Organizations and Rural Development

(p.153) 7 Civil Society in the Countryside? Social Organizations and Rural Development
In Search of Civil Society

Gordon White

Jude Howell

Shang Xiaoyuan

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the role of social organizations in two rapidly urbanizing rural areas in the economically dynamic coastal regions: the counties/cities of Xiaoshan in Zhejiang province and Nanhai in Guangdong province. It evaluates how changes in the structure and dynamics of the rural economy have changed patterns of associational life in the countryside and small-scale rural cities and towns, particularly the decline of the rural collectives and the spread of ‘responsibility systems’ in agriculture, the diversification of agricultural production, and the burgeoning of small-scale rural industry. The chapter notes that the effects of the economic reform have been even more profound in China's countryside than in its cities. It conducts a preliminary assessment of the relative importance of social organizations in the ‘incorporated sector’ within the overall pattern of changes in rural associational life in rapidly developing areas.

Keywords:   civil society, Nanhai, Xiaoshan, rural economy, countryside, agricultural production, rural industry, economic reform, incorporated sector, social organizations

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